Grant Redden was born and raised in southwest Wyoming. When Grant was 12, his father purchased his own outfit with 5,000 Columbia ewes and 300 mother cows. The work, always a family affair, became even more intense. Horses were an integral part of his family’s operation including camp horses, pack strings in the summer, and work horses to pull camps and feed the livestock in heavy winters. Naturally, they are a major part of his art. Grant believes these animals have their own personalities and characteristics which should come out in each painting; he uses no formulas.
Grant always had the bug to paint; he naturally looked at the landscape, the animals, and the people as subjects for his creative impulse. His parents were from pioneering stock — his mother was born in a log cabin on the Henry’s Fork of the Green River in southwest Wyoming to a homesteading family and attended a one-room schoolhouse until high school. Her family was fiercely independent and self-reliant. His father’s family was among the first pioneers to settle southwest Wyoming. With this background, Grant developed a strong attachment to the land and the life and an interest in history. He feels blessed to have the chance to build his home and raise his family on 120 acres of their summer pasture land and dedicate himself to painting what he knows.
Primarily self-taught, he had the opportunity to be mentored by many generous living masters and studied the work of deceased masters such as Sorolla, Sargent, Zorn, Von Zugel, and many others.
For Grant, becoming a CAA member has been a great honor. “The CAA has a rich tradition of creating art that celebrates the Western life authentically at a quality level, requiring dedication and commitment,” he said. By attempting to measure up to the higher atmosphere in which these artists work, Grant said he has been made to stretch and step up to a higher level himself, both as an artist and as a man. “The culture in this group of artists is both demanding and nurturing,” he said, “and I’m excited for the challenge.” Grant has already lived up to these demands, winning a Gold Medal in Oil Painting for Loading the Sled and a Silver Medal in Water Solubles for High Country at the 2013 CAA show, and a Gold Medal in Oil Painting for his work Hot and Thirsty at the 2014 CAA show.
The sights, sounds, and smells of putting up hay with powerful, steady draft horses under towering cottonwood trees are what make this subject magical; freshly mowed Timothy, jingle of harness and clatter of sickle, sweat of man and beast, the feel and smell of cool air coming from under the trees as one cuts the back swath. The contrast of working the land this way against diesel exhaust, whining motors, and air-conditioned cabs, is acute.
Moonlight evokes a mystery and romanticism that raise a mundane subject to a higher level. A cowboy in contemplation in the moonlight generates feelings of longing; for loved ones, for older, simpler times when one was free to bask in the quiet, smell the night air, feel the horse shift on tired feet beneath the saddle.
A young Utah cowboy rests his legs astride his big bay mount as cloud shadows move across the landscape, the La Sal Mountains looming up behind him, the summer heat rising up from the sage and sand beneath his horse's feet. Color and texture are as much the subject of this painting as are the figures. Bright sunlight, strong shadows, the highlights on rock and horseflesh, gobs of paint applied with brush and pallet knife, blues, reds, and yellows. My challenge was to take a quiet subject and make it interesting and compelling using layers of paint, warm colors predominating and balanced against cools. Sometimes we succeed, more often we fail, but that is how layers and depth are created, in both painting and in character.
A young pioneer woman walks among her flock of goats on the prairie, thinking of chores to be done, enjoying the fresh breeze coming across the grass, bearing, alongside the menfolk, the burden of wresting a living from the land, which is at once, nurturing and unforgiving. This painting was created with a limited pallet, using black and yellow ochre for the greens, black and lead white for the blues and grays, red and black for the purple hues. These few colors create an immediate harmony.
A cowboy rides his horse and tows his pack-horse through lodge-pole and fir, along a dim trail across deadfall, out of the shadows, into the light of a fast setting sun. One more mile to camp. This painting was made with my typical pallet with the addition of a soft lead white called Flemish White, on a lead-ground canvas. It was painted in one session, wet-in-wet, with only a few touch ups applied later. The balance and contrast of warm colors in the sunlight and cools in the shadows were a major motivation for this painting.